Sealions repeat over Griffins in straight sets
Elimination round topnotcher PGJC-Navy carved out a tough 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 victory over VNS-One Alicia on Thursday to get its semifinal round campaign going in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at Paco Arena in Manila.
Team captain Greg Dolor ran rings around the VNS-One Alicia defense with 20 points with Jao Umandal accounting for 12 as the Sealions wrapped up the match in an hour and 24 minutes.
It was the fifth straight win for Navy counting a 4-0 windup in classification that gave the Sealions No. 1 seeding in the playoffs.
The Griffins grabbed a 16-12 lead in the third to spark hopes of forcing a fourth set, but the Sealions came out of a huddle a lot organized and won five of the next six points to tie. They then put the match to bed with a 5-1 run.
“It’s the semis, so the training and all the sacrifices must come into fore,” said Dolor, who added two kill blocks to earn another player of the game honor.
With Ron Rosales sidelined by an ankle sprain late in the first set, Jemmy Entig and Joeven dela Vega stepped up to help pour in nine and seven points, respectively. Peter Quiel added six points for coach Cecil Cruzada.
“I don’t think we played that well, yet we managed to pull out a win,” said Cruzada in Filipino.
Nobody from the fourth-ranked VNS-One Alicia hit double-digit marks, with Kevin Montemayor finishing with nine points and Ben San Andres and Yoyong Mendoza scoring eight points apiece.
The Sealions, meanwhile, brace for a tough task against the Nationals on Saturday, seeking not only to move closer to a dream finals stint but also a payback against the only team that dealt their lone loss in the eliminations, a five setter that was decided, 18-16, last Sept. 6.
“We’ll train, prepare hard and study their weak points to get back at them,” said Dolor.
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